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Writers debate biggest surprise on 53-man roster

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Photos of players on the Giants official roster

DAN SALOMONE: How about that Nikita Whitlock? What do we even call him? Fullback? Defensive tackle? Special teams demon?


NEWS
> [Giants announce 53-man roster](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/New-York-Giants-announce-53-man-roster/d90c09c7-4a11-4260-b545-8dd3a1fa0671)
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> [3 rookies ready to make impact](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Three-rookies-ready-to-make-early-impact-in-2015/f0efe7e7-f849-46d1-b741-26d2afc873f6)
PHOTOS
> [Giants updated roster in photos](http://www.giants.com/photos/photos/Giants-Official-Roster-in-Photos/92bd47b5-9b3d-43ee-8b16-bbc8a8eaf003)
INFOGRAPHIC
> [Giants 53-man roster infographic](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/roster-infographic.html)


The Wake Forest product was all of the above in the preseason finale against the Patriots with one rushing attempt, two special teams tackles, three more on defense, and a fumble recovery that sealed the victory for the Giants.

He's the perfect example for any player trying to make it in the NFL. He played as hard as anyone this summer and produced when it counted in games. Of course, that meant the departure of Henry Hynoski, a fan favorite since he made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2011.

Now the Giants have just six players from the Super Bowl XLVI team: Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty (PUP), Prince Amukamara, Zak DeOssie and Mark Herzlich.

JOHN SCHMEELK: None of the players let go after the last few days were off my radar for potential cuts, except for one: Jameel McClain. But now that the decision to let him go has been made, I've thought about it and it makes a lot of sense.

Besides the decision to keep Unai 'Unga, a young linebacker that showed some skills in the offseason, the Giants have two other far more experienced players that can play middle linebacker: Mark Herzlich and JT Thomas. Herzlich seems to have gravitated towards an outside linebacker position in the last couple of years, but JT Thomas started at middle linebacker for half a season in Jacksonville last season. He can slide over and play there if it is needed.

There's adequate experience behind Jon Beason to fill in if he doesn't make it back from his knee injury in time for the start of the season. I thought Corey Washington's injury late in camp might hurt him when the final roster came out, and that came to fruition.

James Jones was a bit of a surprise given the nagging leg injuries with Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle. But Preston Parker's experience in the slot makes him a logical backup for Cruz, and Geremy Davis should provide depth behind Randle outside. Given Nikita Whitlock was my sleeper, I was happy to see him make the team, but it is very sad to see Henry Hynoski go. He was a true professional and a great guy. Same for Steve Weatherford. I can't wait for the regular season to get here and now we know the 53 that will play in Dallas, given the Giants don't claim anyone on waivers from other teams.

LANCE MEDOW: My biggest surprise on the final 53-man roster is fullback Nikita Whitlock beating out Henry Hynoski. Whitlock made quite a name for himself in the preseason finale against the Patriots and the versatility he showcased in that contest was clearly a huge factor. Whitlock played fullback, defensive tackle and on special teams where he contributed to all four units. His most notable play came on defense when he recovered a Ryan Lindley fumble off Damontre Moore's strip sack late in the fourth quarter to seal the Giants' 12-9 win.

New York has had a knack for finding undrafted players who become valuable additions to the roster. The former Cowboys practice squad player could be the latest name to add to that lengthy list.

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